Out and about: mini vacation in Quebec City

This past weekend Dave treated me to a weekend in Quebec City, in honour of my birthday.  We had a great time, spending lots of time relaxing in the room and wandering around the city.

How we got there :

We took the train (Via Rail) on Friday afternoon after work, and returned Sunday afternoon.  On the way there, since our train was leaving right around dinner time we splurge and went with business class.  In case you’ve never been on Via’s business class (formerly Via1, as it will always be in my head), here are the perks:

  • Lounge access while waiting at the station, including free (non-alcoholic) cold and hot beverages, as well as newspapers.
  • Many beverages, both non-alcoholic and alcoholic, while on the train (Dave and I had to keep saying no, otherwise we would have been drunk by the time we arrived!)
  • A snack upon boarding, and then a meal.

The food wasn’t the most amazing we have ever had (think airplane food), but it was free and ensured we got to our destination well fed.  And they give you a choice (that must count for something).  The drinks though . . . if you like to drink, you can definitely get your money’s worth!  We had a pre dinner drink (according to the attendant, they have “everything”), wine with dinner, and a post dinner digestive.

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The way back in economy wasn’t quite as exciting, but it was still a comfortable ride nonetheless.  We made sure to buy ourselves lunch before getting on the train (Subway, not particularly exciting) and equipped ourselves with snacks (pringles).

Where we stayed:

We stayed at the Hotel Champlain in old Quebec, just beyond the city walls.  This was a great location for us, as it was in the middle of everywhere we wanted to be.  Within 10 minutes or so we could get to Chateau Frontenac, the lower city, the city walls, etc.  The hotel is on a quiet street, next to a church.

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We splurged (it was my birthday after all!) and reserved a junior suite, complete with hot tub, fire place and a HUGE bed (or at least huge to us, and we already sleep in a Queen).  The fire place turned out to be more a lit up heater, but was a cute touch nonetheless.  But the hot tub.  Oh the hot tub!  So nice to soak in after walking all over the city.

A nice touch is that the hotel provides a complimentary continental breakfast in the mornings, and complimentary hot beverages 24h.  The breakfast was a step up from a lot of continental breakfasts: eggs, toast/bagels, cheese, cretons, fruit salad, yogourt, cereal, muffins and orange juice.  Nothing extravagant, but a nice spread.

What we ate:

We weren’t in Quebec City all that long, and a lot of our meals were included (train on the way there, breakfast both mornings).  For lunch on Saturday we went to the local chain Chez Ashton and tried their poutine:

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For dinner we went to a restaurant called Lapin Sauté that specializes in rabbit (and duck) and is located in the lower city.  It was delicious!  And small and quaint and romantic.  I highly recommend a visit if you enjoy rabbit and duck, but recommend you make reservations as it is quite small and fills up quickly.  We went right after 5pm, and they just were able to squeeze us in.  I also recommend you do not share the duck and rabbit platter for two unless you are two very hungry people, because although it is delicious, it is also a lot of food.  No picture, we were too busy eating.

What we saw:

We spent a lot of time just wandering.  I really needed a little rest, not having to be anywhere at any specific time.  And I love buildings (I am an engineer afterall) and just walking around and taking them in.  We walked the city walls and peeked through arrow slits.  We also did the rue St-Jean/rue de la Fabrique walk, and checked out Simons original location.

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